Does cold weather affect septic tanks? - Proseptic Ltd

Does cold weather affect septic tanks?

does cold weather affect septic tanks

Does cold weather affect septic tanks? The short answer is yes.

But the real question is: how and why does cold weather affect septic tanks?


One of the most obvious problems is easily guessed – certain components of your system can actually freeze.

This can include the pipes leading to the septic tank from the house, the tank itself and the pipes from the tank to the drainfield.

Of course your tank and pipes should’ve been installed with insulation but this isn’t a certain guarantee against freezing.

Similar to other plumbing, one way to discourage potential freeze is keep things moving, so frequent usage of the system may help.

Some people even opt for natural thermal layering to protect their tank, using turf, mulch or hay to lessen the effects of the cold.


The bacteria that live inside your septic tank are a vital part of its correct function.

These types of bacteria are actually sensitive to temperature and typically thrive at between 10-12°C.

If these die or become dormant due to much lower temperatures, the waste in your tank won’t be digested properly and will build up in your tank.

One way to give your bacteria the best chance of staying alive and active is to ensure you don’t kill any unnecessarily.

So try to avoid overusing cleaning products that contain harsh chemicals, especially acids and bleaches that may change delicately balanced pH levels.

Christmas and New Year

Usually, the start of cold weather in the UK coincides with the festive season, which puts more pressure on your septic tank.

Prevention techniques are always better than fixing mistakes in terms of expenditure and disruption.

So keep an eye on your system at periods when there are more people in your house and using your facilities.

By spotting the tell-tale signs and acting before the cold weather just compounds the problem, you may avoid costly damage.

Cold weather affecting your septic tank system?

If a problem occurs during the winter months, it may just be bad luck due to the drop in temperatures.

But if system leaks or clogs are causing issues that date back months, then ignoring the problem during the warmer seasons may cost you.

Access to systems for repair or maintenance can be made much harder by frozen or compacted ground.

To discuss any problems relating to your system and its operations with a professional, please get in touch today.

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